#214 Micro Machines

Posted: 4th May 2011 by Mulholland in Games
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51st game played so far

Genre: Racing/Driving
Platform: NES
Year of Release: 1991
Developer: Codemasters
Publisher: Camerica

After the marathon that was Baldur’s Gate II it’s time for a quick race to the finish (no pun intended).

Based on the very successful Micro Machine toys this game started a very lucrative series where the first few games received smatterings of critical acclaim. With most of the toys featuring their own races (jeeps, helicopters, speedboats what have you) it would be easy to dismiss this as purely an exercise in shifting merchandise…

Our Thoughts

Personally, I was rather surprised that a game inspired by a famous toy line would make it onto this list, let alone it’s sequel. I guess I was too young for this to make an impact on me since I was not exactly aware Micro Machines even existed as a gaming franchise. Yeah, that must have been. I remember playing this over at friends on the NES and SNES and loving it. While it may not look like much, this is back when our racing games were on tracks where you had limited movement, staying on the track, with boring surroundings. The colourful racing, where you can go where you want (as long as you don’t stray for too long) in the colourful, somewhat varied tracks, is amazing. Major games featuring top-down racing are not exactly made anymore. It really stopped being made around the same time Grand Theft Auto made a similar move.  So in that way this game is almost immediately dated. Of course, back in those days, first person racing looked far worse (locked camera and limited graphics) and this allowed for more possibilities for racers in those days.

However, the cute settings really does save it somewhat. Rather than normal settings of cityscapes or verdant green hills you find yourself racing around the breakfast table or the bathtub. Presumably trying to give kids ideas for playtime. It really feels like you’re a kid racing your toys around your home. As someone who did not play with toy cars that much this may have passed me by slightly. Make this Lego however and I’m yours. My father was a car mechanic and collected miniature Alfa Romeos. I often wasn’t allowed to play with them, so this was more of being able to actually race them. Like how I took solace in ESPN Extreme Games since my lack of natural balance prevented me from using roller blades? Very possible. Although playing Super Mario Bros. was not because I wanted to eat mushrooms. I’d like to make that absolutely clear. Fair enough, being Dutch I am sure there were other metaphorical fish to fry. Low blow I know… but I could not resist.

Anyway, it took us a bit of time to get into the game, but it was fun to play. A lot of freedom, and fun surroundings, making clever use of everyday elements. Stick with it, and it can be fun to play – and still be a good racer.

Final Thoughts

We know that this was a bit of a short write-up but in terms of games that changed history this would not be the top of our list. It is, however, a really good fun racing game to play to while away the time of day. Coming in a few years time: Micro Machines 2.